Dehumidifiers work most efficiently during warm temperatures and should not be operated below 60° F. When used during the cold season, moisture is extracted from the indoor air which can freeze the cooling coils, and later on will damage the unit.
Operating a dehumidifier in winter is not necessary as it may risk the humidity levels too low.
However, there are certain cases wherein homeowners might need to run a dehumidifier during the cold season and you’ll probably need them only in your basement or certain house areas, depending on the case may be.
Dehumidifiers are normally settled in basements because this area does not have much exposure to natural light and heat. This is why basements stay damp all-year-round and are ideal locations for mold and mildew to grow.
And when molds start to accumulate, it will spread out in the entire house risking your health, walls, woods, and furniture.
But, if your home has a varying indoor humidity level let’s say above 60% then you might need a dehumidifier even in winter to counteract the adverse effects of mold and bacteria growth which can affect your family’s health.
When Do I Need to Turn
On the Dehumidifier in
You are probably comfortable running the humidifier to keep your home warm and cozy during these last few months of winter. Some cities, however, still experience high humidity even during the wintertime.
People living in warm climates are used to running a dehumidifier but during the winter, for example, California residents apparently won’t need to run a dehumidifier and Floridians might actually need to.
Both states have warmer temperatures in winter and both also do not have basements but Florida has higher humidity levels compared to California due to varying temperatures and humidity levels.
The tip is here pretty simple, it all boils down to how high the relative indoor humidity your home has!
Monitor Your Indoor Humidity
Keep in mind that you only need to turn on the dehumidifier if the relative indoor humidity stays at 60% or higher in order to keep mold and mildew from advancing.
Usually, some parts of your house will tend to have higher humidity during the last parts of the winter season due to insulation. This might be a good idea to install a dehumidifier instead.
This is where a hygrometer will help you most, it will monitor your indoor humidity so you can decide whether or not a dehumidifier is needed. It may sound tricky at first, but if you happen to live in high humid areas, then you already know the drill!
Which Room Needs A Dehumidifier?
You don’t need to run the dehumidifier in the entire house. Usually, you only need it in rooms or house areas that don’t have good ventilation. These areas have greater chances of having high humidity even in the wintertime.
It could be any of the following areas:
But, you should be careful in turning on the dehumidifier, because it might damage the device the moment that it starts to extract excess air moisture and freeze its cooling coil.
If there is high humidity but the temperature is too cold to use the dehumidifier, it’s better to use any heating devices such as electric heater instead for a few hours every day or until the indoor air humidity stabilizes.
Electric heaters may not be as effective in lowering down humidity levels but it can at least lower the temperature in the basement and remove excess water vapor.
How to Effectively Use a
Dehumidifier in Winter?
Well, using a dehumidifier in the winter is a little bit delicate and needs your utmost attention. I suggest that you only turn on or use your dehumidifier if you notice an extreme or alarming level of high humidity.
With the help of a hygrometer, you can detect the humidity levels inside the house and when it starts to get higher than the recommended percentage, then you turn on the dehumidifier.
You can effectively use a dehumidifier in the following situations:
Once you have turned on the dehumidifier, keep an eye on the device and monitor the room or the basement. If your dehumidifier has more customization control, then it is easier to manage humidity.
Make sure to completely dry out the room to stop the mildew from scattering. The table below will guide you when to effectively use a dehumidifier during the winter.
How to Prevent Cold Air from Damaging the Dehumidifier
Since it is uncommon to use a dehumidifier in winter except in certain locations and conditions, you can practically do some precautions to prevent the cold winter air from damaging your dehumidifier.
- 1Installing a dehumidifier in less ventilated areas will help get rid of condensation and possible mold growth. However, since it is winter, you can alternatively add a heater to avoid the dehumidifier coils from freezing.
- 2Apart from that, make sure that you seal all the possible sites and vents that will let the cold air to seep in and avoid freezing in the dehumidifier coils.
- 3In your basement, make sure to cover possible areas where the cold air can go in that might affect the efficiency of your dehumidifier. If the basement is too cold, you can run a heater for at least two hours every day to lower down the temperature.
- 4The correct dehumidifier positioning also highly affects its efficiency. After you have recorded the humidity levels of the basement, you put the unit to the area of the basement with the highest humidity percentage.
Heaters don’t remove much humidity as how dehumidifiers would, but it will just produce enough heat to avoid the freezing temperature range at least.
Best Practices In Winter (For Dehumidifier)
The cold winter air can be risky for your dehumidifier, you’ll do whatever you can to make sure it’s able to perform its tasks without any issues. Once the cold air seeps through your unit and it starts to freeze the coils, you may end up either to replace it or have it fixed.
Winter dehumidifier maintenance does not require special materials and routine. All you need to do is to clean it regularly just as you would on a regular dehumidifier season, except that you take a keen eye on the temperature and humidity levels.
So, how do you prevent the cold air from damaging your dehumidifier in this cold season? Here are some best practices you should know!
- 1Empty the dehumidifier bucket regularly. This also depends on the size of the unit, but due to the cold air, there might be chances that the water in the tank might start to turn cold or frozen.
- 2Check the cooling coils after each use. It’s not good to continue running the unit with frozen coils.
- 3Set automatic humidity control. Some dehumidifiers are able to run in colder temperatures like 42° but this will forfeit the need to turn on the unit.
- 4Clean the dehumidifier after use. Like any household appliances, you can prolong its lifespan by practicing cleanliness and proper maintenance.
When you start seeing unwanted mold growth, you can use common fungicide readily available at home like the white vinegar, rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.
Better yet, you can also find dehumidifiers that can withstand certain freezing temperatures that do not require you to check it every now and then.
Other Alternatives to Reduce Humidity Levels in Enclosed Spaces During the Winter
Understanding why your home or certain parts of it is overly humid during the winter is the key to getting the right solution. You see, the main concern here is the comfort of your family and the overall protection of your home.
There are many alternatives you can do apart from using a dehumidifier to overcome high humidity. Here are some guidelines and alternatives to reduce humidity levels at home during the winter months:
Using a dehumidifier in winter is not for everyone. It is only effective if you live in an unusually humid area or has certain house parts with high humidity, like your basement, garages, and other spaces.
You could be living in a basement apartment that has high humidity all year round, or has a basement and garage without any ventilation, these are just a few reasons to dehumidify during the cold months. The main objective of dehumidifying in the winter is to remove excess moisture that can cause condensation and trigger mold and bacteria growth.
Other house areas like your closets, cabinets, and kitchen are also prone to high humidity at some point. However, there are precautions in using a dehumidifier in the winter. Before you turn on your unit, you have to make sure that the relative indoor humidity is above 50% based on your hygrometer and it has been the same scenario for quite some time.
Otherwise, it will forfeit its purpose and only cause more havoc than benefits. In fact, it is challenging to use the dehumidifier in winter due to the colder air. There are risks of freezing the coils inside that can later on damage the unit if left unattended.
Fortunately, I got everything covered in this post. If you are having issues with high humidity in the winter, then you should carefully go through the tips I have given above.
Don’t let high humidity destroy your health, comfort and air quality these cold months. Ponder on these best practices on how to use and maintain your humidifier in winter.